Old Friends – Part I

Some days I find it impossible to believe that Time is only marching forward. Despite the daily reminders that surround me, at times I refuse to accept it. I live in constant denial that all of us are getting older… Shoving the notion to the back of my brain like pushing a hideous, itchy sweater to the back of the closet.

Some of the reminders are harmless and precious like witnessing your niece go off to her first big dance. Some of them are not so great such as the discovery of a few grey hairs, new laugh lines or a pain where there never used to be one. Worse yet, some of them are downright cruel in witnessing loved ones succumb to the disease of time.

On occasion reminders of relentless forward motion catch me by surprise, as do the emotions that accompany them.

This weekend my parents were doing some serious house cleaning in order to make room for their new furnace to be installed. When I stopped by for a visit, my dad slid a large blue plastic storage tub in my direction and removed the lid, asking me if the stuffed animals inside belonged to my sister or me.

Immediately I was taken aback at the instant recognition of some very old, very faithful friends. I slowly bent down and began sifting through the soft synthetic fur and yarn discovering one by one an old familiar face. I held back tears as I lifted old dolls and plush critters from their resting places and held them in my 36-year-old hands for the first time in easily two decades.

The first one I noticed was Stephanie, an oversized, homemade doll made for me by a close family friend at the request of my parents one Christmas. She was made to look just like a Cabbage Patch Kid either because my parents couldn’t get their hands on one due the insane demand for them that year or in trying to give my sister and I both a very nice Christmas, they didn’t quite have the money. It didn’t matter. I loved that doll. She was different from all of my other friends’ factory dolls because she had been made JUST for me.

Then there were the couple of Cabbage Patch dolls that came a year or two later, a stuffed penguin that I’d bought at Sea World with my very own money the summer my mom, grandmother, aunts, sister and cousins all went together and had a picnic before seeing Shamu. I still remember the stupid 80’s outfit I wore that day. There was also a HUGE pink Easter bunny with big floppy ears and an Easter picture stitched on its belly. I can’t remember exactly where it came from or when I got it… but I do remember it being special to me.

I didn’t recognize each item in the big blue storage tub, so I assumed that the others must have belonged to my sister. My parents wanted me to take a smaller cardboard box of my stuff with me but I resisted. My reason for resisting wasn’t because I didn’t want an extra box sitting around the house. I resisted because I was fearful of the emotion being stirred within me.

Why on earth was I getting so emotional over some old box of stuffed toys!?

To be continued in tomorrow’s post…